What We Missed.

So much news today, let’s start with some links about Iran.
Shark-fu talks about twitter and Iran. Also, you can get up to the minute updates on Iran by searching for #iranelection.
Some empirical evidence on the vote counting at FiveThirtyEight.
Laura Rozen at Foreign Policy discussing Obama and Diplomacy with Iran.
Voices of America on the recount.
And Utne Reader has three ways you can support the protesters.
In other news…
Another white supremacist related killing, this time on the border.
A racist email aimed at Obama.
Kenyon Farrow on how not all gays support same-sex marriage.
On white men and the Asian women fetish. I have written about this topic before, naturally, and a corresponding pic after the jump.
Happy Tuesday folks.

Join the Conversation

  • Marc

    I read the review and couldn’t help but think a feminist critique needs to be applied to cultural practices and supposed “fetish” of “Western” men and Asian women.
    A few notes on Western men with so-called “fetish” about Asian women. There are several key points worth looking at.
    1) Pornography. When pornography’s depiction of women start getting younger and younger, as in Hustler’s “Barely Legal” series, and porn stars like “Little April,” the fetish then isn’t so much about Asian women being Asian, but rather, their size. What does does mean? Men fetishize Asian women not simply because of the fact that they’re Asian, but because they are naturally smaller, and thus better reflect their fantasies as depicted by porn that, implicitly, portray underage sex.
    2) While all women are objectify, Asian women’s objectification are more prevalent because, in objectification, women are seen as a set of body parts, rather than human. As such, Asian women are viewed as much “tighter” and sexually optimal. It also intersects with two other stereotypes – racism and heterosexism, in that, as for racism: Asian men are not sexual prowess enough to please their own women, thus Western men are seen as being the ones to rescue them from sexual frustration. Secondly, it goes under the assumption that all Asian women enjoy heterosexual and penis-in-vagina sex, and, in fact, crave it as if it’s something they’re missing.
    I am going to throw up if I hear one more man claim he will “tear her pussy apart,” or introduce her to some real cock.”
    3) Also based on racist and sexist stereotypes, Asian women are seen by Western men as more “gentle” as compared to “ballbusting” Western women. That is, having lost “control” of their Western counterparts, a lot of men revert to Asian women because of their racist perceptions, as a way to regain their male power.
    Further, sexually, Asian women are seen not ever as “sluts,” but rather being submissive – that is, because of this “gentle nature,” they are eager to please and will serve more as a ragdoll than an actual participant in sex.
    A short note: it’s not just Western men that are racist and sexist in this way. My mother, who is Asian, once asked me why she’s never seen me date an Asian woman and suggested that I start to, because Asian women are more likely to listen to me, and be submissive. We’re fighting a misogynistic, racist culture from both sides here.
    I spent a whole semester researching porn – and now spending time with many young, aggressive, A-type personality males who are away from home for the first time, and recalling my research with the conversations I have with them everyday, things are starting to click in a very scary way.

  • LadyG

    I know that this is horrible….but I was expecting this ugly, racist image or text to be part of the e-mail link. As soon as the page loaded I couldn’t stop laughing…I guess it doesn’t ring too offensive to me because my African friends always make jokes about that (“How do you find an African in a dark room? Ask him to open his eyes/smile.”). However, I’m totally aware that Obama’s skin color isn’t remotely close to that black, so it’s some person using the blanket term ‘black’ to identify him.
    If the office officially approved that though? Yikes. Even as a low-brow joke it’s still bad enough.

  • Dineen

    Just wanted to comment on this line from the fetish article…
    “The subject is squirm-inducing, whether you are a Chinese man with a humiliated heart or a Western woman feeling obscurely spurned or, for that matter, even if you’re a Western man enthralled, as Bernstein himself seems to be, by the image of the quintessential Asian nymph, with her “long silky hair, smooth nut-brown skin, and a perfume of orange and spice on her breath” — and feeling kinda defensive about it.”
    This Asian American woman is thoroughly creeped out by the Asian fetish too. Being “obscurely spurned” by men who are attracted to “quintessential Asian nymphs” doesn’t sound like so terrible a fate.
    Also, I suggest not reading the comments on that article. They’re just brimming with racism and sexism, with a smattering of homophobia and fatphobia. There are probably a few other prejudices buried in there if you look hard enough.

  • elsmith7

    I noticed that too! It’s mind-boggling to me how she goes out of her way to describe the viewpoints of each involved party EXCEPT the Asian women. I see this over and over again… somehow, we are central to this topic, yet completely left out of any dialogue about it. I mean….. what?

  • larana

    aaaaaahahahahahaha i love your shirt!!!!

  • thanxgoodall

    Thanks for mentioning the murder of the Flores family. Here’s a link to a story that talks more about the little girl that was murdered. I kinda hoped this would warrant a whole post…

  • Ace

    While I understand that the “Asian Fetish” may be rooted in Sexism, I have to wonder, what exactly is the difference between finding Asian features attractive and “Asian Fetish”, if there is any?

  • A male

    One easy example: if it were a fetish for Asian features, like skin color or eye shape, or Asian culture, Asian males would also be considered appealing.
    They are not.
    While Asian women are considered desirable due to sexism or racism, Asian men are considered NOT desirable for some of the same reasons: typically smaller in stature or build than average Caucasian or African American males, less assuming or assertive = less “masculine” or more “feminine,” more “traditional” = less desirable to modern women as partners, etc.
    Asian women are likely considered sex objects, as in posing for import auto tuning magazines or porn, while Asian men are considered nerds, as in “Harold and Kumar.” I was surprised to see that such movies with Asian men as the main characters were popular in the first place, despite the Asian stereotypes.

  • Rosasharn

    So as a bisexual, if I find Asian men and women more attractive than white people, what is that?

  • A male

    “So as a bisexual, if I find Asian men and women more attractive than white people, what is that?”
    More enlightened than most for not buying into that BS. If I were into men, as opposed to merely curious, I’d prefer Asians, as well.
    In addition to being male, I am 100% ethnic Asian, and do not consider a preference for women who share physical or cultural characteristics with myself e.g., Japanese or Filipino, which I am, as opposed to Chinese or Thai, to be a fetish.

  • zp27

    This is so horrible. Again, I wish it was surprising-racism mixed with xenophobia? That’s the worst possible combination of hatred I can think of. And I’m not sure why these vigilante “border patrols” haven’t been discontinued yet. Shouldn’t making sure quacks with guns can’t attack people be part of the change this administration has been talking about?
    Where the heck is DHS???!!

  • kahri

    This is an ugly, racist cartoon. It is. It deserves no apology and though I’d like to think that no one here intends to be its apologist, that’s how the above comment comes across, at least to me.
    It would be one thing for me to laugh at a racist cartoon, feel horrible AND… recognize that reaction as part of the way racism shapes my experience including my sense of humor… AND think more critically about how frequently my white American cultures are engaged in the process of reproducing and consuming these types of images, jokes, and stories. I could critically interrogate my role as a consumer and participant in racist cultures. I could use my unintended reaction– laughter– as a moment to teach myself.
    It would be another thing for me to laugh at a racist cartoon, feel horrible, BUT… trivialize the racist power of cartoon by comparing it to other images I might deem more racist… BUT explain away my reaction because some of my friends of color make the same jokes… BUT hint at the idea that it is only a problem because it’s officially approved.
    I really do find this comment to be in need of some deeper thinking.

  • proudfeminist

    So it is bad now for men to go for Asian women if its that what they want ?
    If somebody is not my fetish, I will look for somone who is. Sexual incompability makes for a drama filled relationship.

  • llevinso

    Agreed kahri. I found this cartoon deeply disturbing. AND the fact that it was sent out by a government aide. AND the fact that she wasn’t fired over it. AND the fact that her apology wasn’t really an apology at all…she’s sorry that she sent it to the “wrong list of people”…WTF is that?!
    But by all means, let’s just excuse it because it’s “kinda funny.” Michelle Obama as a gorilla: Not funny. Sotomayor as a pinata: Uncalled for. Our president as just a pair of white eyes in a dark room: Freaking hilarious! *eyeroll*

  • LadyG

    I am completely aware of the context of the cartoon…I personally don’t find it as offensive as other imagery I’ve seen (and I do have a problem when people have to say what I should be offended by and shouldn’t personally be offended by…everyone’s views and tolerances are different), and I explained my PERSONAL view because it’s the humor that I grew up around. In no way did I say that it was okay for a government official to send that around. In fact, I think that it’s donwright wrong.
    So shoot me, I laughed. I can think of a million worse things to laugh at, and if you think that I’m not aware of the social context just because I laughed? Okay. What I would have done with the e-mail isn’t the point of the story, so why do I have to discuss that?

  • kahri

    Laughing wasn’t what I took issue with. I certainly can’t claim never to have laughed at a racist image or joke. And I certainly don’t think it’s right to pretend I haven’t ever laughed at offensive material.
    What matters to me is what we think or do after the laughter. How do we understand it… how do we interrogate it… how do we learn from it…
    My intention wasn’t to blame you for having a different sense of humor than me. It was to point out that I think your comment can function in a way that you probably didn’t intend– it can function to trivialize, dismiss, and apologize for racist imagery.
    It trivialized the racism by comparing it to other material that is somehow more racist. It dismissed any chance for critical thinking about the reaction– laughter– by saying that sometimes people of color laugh at racist material, too. It apologized for racist imagery when it hinted that it was only offensive because it came through an official channel (suggesting to me that unofficial, private jokes are somehow no problem).
    As llevinso points out in her comment, there are a lot of these racist images going around lately, targeting high profile political figures. This is something I think all Americans need to consider more deeply.
    I’m not trying to fight, honestly. I’m trying raise serious points that I think are really, really important. We are all consumers of popular culture, jokes and imagery included. I don’t want any of us to be passive consumers, especially when the material consumed is racist and hurtful. So when we laugh at something racist or sexist, I want us all to engage in some sophisticated thinking about what that means.
    I am not perfect with this. It may sound like I’m trying to claim I am. Please don’t think so. And I don’t tend to like it when I get called out on stuff that I don’t think is a problem. But I’m learning to recognize that if I’m getting called out, there’s something going on that I need to think about.
    So yeah, I’m asking you to do the same. Think about what it means to laugh at this image. Where does that come from? How might it be a product of a racist culture– how might it in turn participate in and reinforce a racist culture? How might an image that doesn’t seem to be a big deal to me be actually terrifying– so frightening as to actually cause a physical fear response– in an audience that is routinely bombarded with racist imagery? How might a comment that seems to trivialize the racism of that image contribute to making this comment board an unsafe space?

  • Devonian

    “A short note: it’s not just Western men that are racist and sexist in this way.”
    I’ll say. The Japanese, at least, seem to hold most of the same stereotypes about their own women. Hell, I think there’s a specific term in Japanese for the “submissive wife type” archetype…

  • Newbomb Turk

    Straight men usually don’t find other men appealing, period. There are exceptions: I’m straight and I think Hugh Jackman is a good-looking dude, even if I’m pretty clueless on the subject. When women at work or at school gush over one male celebrity or another (like my ex-girlfriend used to do over George Clooney), my reaction is more along the lines of “Huh?” than scorn.

  • Newbomb Turk

    I like the picture too, but for reasons that will probably get me flamed here. Damn! :P

  • Newbomb Turk

    Men fetishize Asian women not simply because of the fact that they’re Asian, but because they are naturally smaller, and thus better reflect their fantasies as depicted by porn that, implicitly, portray underage sex.

    Riiiiight. Men who think Ziyi Zhang is beautiful do so because they’re latent pedophiles and she looks like jailbait.
    What a pile of racist, paranoid horseshit!

  • Toni

    Like Rosasharn, I’m bi and find Asian men and women attractive. But I wouldn’t call it a perference. I’m willing to date any race. I would like to think I would hold the same standards to Asians on dating standards that I do to other races. But there are very few Asians where I live so I never really met an Asian that I had the opportunity of dating.
    On the sexism thing. It may be somewhat rooted in the fact that straight men tend to be very resistant to admit that another man is good-looking because they fear being percieved as gay.

  • ebetty

    What is an Asian fetish?
    This video discusses this pretty well. Starting from 1:09:
    Hope it helps.

  • ghostorchid

    you are mistakenly conflating “fetishize” with “find attractive”

  • http://feministing.com/members/homleand/ Homleand

    Why would someone wear a t-shirt that basically says, “I’m not attractive”?

    That’s some bizarre self-hatred going on there.